The Angle of Attack

Every wing has a limit to how slowly it can fly, and that limit is based on its angle of attack. Whenever a plane flies too slowly for the wing’s angle of attack to produce lift, the wing “stalls,” and the plane quickly starts descending.

Подпись: By the Book A wing's angle of attack measures the angle between the wind created by the plane's forward mobon and the angle of the airfoil. Engineers draw an imaginary line from the wing's leading edge to its trailing edge, which they call a chord line. The angle between the chord line and the direction of the air blowing past the wing called the relative wind, is the angle of attack.

Sometimes you hear news reports about an airplane “stalling.” Those reports usually don’t have anything to do with the engine stalling as can happen sometimes to a car on a hot day. They usually are referring to a wing stall. If a wing stall happens at an altitude high enough for the pilot to recover, the only result is a shaken-up pilot. But if it happens at a low altitude, such as during an approach to landing, the plane often hits the ground before it can recover enough speed to keep flying. Those kinds of accidents make up most of the accidents on approach to landing. Flight instructors spend a lot of time drilling their students on maintaining safe speed during the approach to landing.

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